'Manchester by the Sea's' Kenneth Lonergan: "There's as Many Ways to Make a Film as There Are Films" | Writer Oscar Roundtable

The writer-director-playwright notes Stanley Kubrick, Marcel Proust and Werner Herzog as some of the creators he finds most inspiring.

"By the time I was finished writing the script, I liked it a lot," Manchester by the Sea screenwriter Kenneth Longergan told The Hollywood Reporter during the Writer Roundtable. "I liked the characters and I liked the setting. I had learned a lot about that part of the world. It takes place in Cape Ann, Mass. I lived with it in an enjoyable way for two years, and it wasn't a big leap to want to direct it once the idea was put to me."

The twice-Oscar-nominated screenwriter (Gangs of New York, You Can Count on Me) shared his process during the Roundtable. "My first pass on it was not very interesting, so I had a year of really struggling with it and not liking it. So I started over, and it got better. It usually takes me about two years. It will take me six to eight months to write a first draft that I like and the remainder of time to make it 10-20 percent better."

More roundtables featuring actresses, actors, directors, songwriters, documentarians, composers and producers will continue throughout February in print and online. Tune in to new episodes of Close Up With 'The Hollywood Reporter' starting Jan. 15 on Sundance TV, and look for clips at THR.com/topic/roundtables with full episodes on THR.com after broadcast.